What if we paid work-study students to study, instead of work?

Low-income students may need to prioritize their jobs over school work to support themselves

Federal work-study money should be used to pay students to study instead of work, Wick Sloane writes in an op-ed for the Boston Globe

Sloane teaches writing at Bunker Hill Community College.

"For many first-generation, low-income students, their college coursework is just one of several major priorities," Sloane says. Not only do many of these students lack sufficient food, housing and medical care, but they may also be breadwinners for their families.

"Time away from their jobs to study or attend class means less money to keep the lights on in their homes or to keep gas in their gas tanks," he says. 

Study: 71% of students say lack of money affects their eating, grocery shopping habits

Financial aid may also not be enough to cover all of low-income students' expenses besides tuition.

"But, if we pay students to study, we're sending a clear message that getting a degree is just as important as having a job," Sloane argues. He notes that even a few hours of homework can make a huge difference for students who could otherwise be earning money.

"Let's eliminate the tradeoff between doing an hour of school work versus an hour of wages," Sloane says (Sloane, Boston Globe, 3/17). 

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